10 movies that celebrated the Indian 1857 mutiny
Indian freedom struggle is incomplete without the mention of the great Indian mutiny. It all started One hundred and sixty five years ago today – May, 10, 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of the Company's army in the garrison town of Meerut, (64 km) northeast of Delhi (now Old Delhi).
Cinema in India and beyond has captured and celebrated the 1857 Indian Mutiny against the British East India Compnay. Here are the 10 significant movies that celebrated the Indian 1857 mutiny also called as the Great Rebellion, the Revolt of 1857, the Indian Insurrection, Sepoy Mutiny and the First War of Independence.
Starring the singer-actor pair of Surendra and Suraiya, 1857 was the fifth highest grossing Indian film of 1946. Mehboob Khan’s classic musical Anmol Ghadi was topped the list. Interestingly, Anmol Ghadi also starred Surendra and Suraiya along with Noor Jehan and music was by Naushad.
1857 was directed by Mohan Sinha for Murari Pictures. The story was by M. Zahur with screenplay and dialogue by Safdar 'Ah'.
1857 – the historical fiction drama set against the backdrop of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 also known as the First war of independence also featured Wasti, Nigar, Munshi Khanjar and Madan Puri.
The Beggar of Cawnpore (1916)
Starring the popular silent era actor Henry Byron Warner (famous for playing Jesus Christ in The King of Kings and Mr. Gower in Frank Capra’s It's a Wonderful Life). The Beggar of Cawnpore is a 1916 American silent film directed by Charles Swickard, apart from Henry Byron Warner (H.B. Warner), the movie also starred Lola May and Wyndham Standing.
Bengal Brigade (1954)
Directed by Golden Globe winner Laslo Benedek (Death of a Salesman) and starring Rock Hudson – the popular star of that time. Bengal Brigade (also known as Bengal Rifles) is a 1954 American adventure war film. The movie also starred Arlene Dahl and Ursula Thiess.
Though the fictional plot set during the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny is told from a British Officer Captain Claybourne (Rock Hudson) point of view who is dismissed from his regiment over a charge of disobeying orders, the movie still holds significant for its mention of the Sepoy Mutiny in Meerut.
Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977)
The cult classic by the maestro Satyajit Ray is the only Hindi movie by the maestro, the only Satyajit Ray Amitabh Bachchan combination. Nominated for golden Bear at 1978 Berlin International Film Festival and the winner of Best director at 1979 Filmfare Awards with the best supporting actor going to Saeed Jaffrey.
Shatranj Ke Khilari (internationally released with the title The Chess Players) is based Munshi Premchand's short story of the same name.
Staring Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey as the chess players. Amjad Khan as Nawab Wajid Ali Shah - King of Awadh, Richard Attenborough as General James Outram. The movie also featured seasoned actors like Shabana Azmi, Farooque Shaikh, Farida Jalal, David Abraham, and Tom Alter. Amitabh Bachchan gave his voice over.
General Bakht Khan (1979)
Interestingly, a Pakistani film about the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The movie starred Mohammad Ali, Yousuf Khan, Sultan Rahi and Sudhir.
General Bakht Khan was the commander-in-chief of the Indian rebel forces in the region of Delhi during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the East India Company.
The movie General Bakht Khan is directed by Sarshar Akhtar Malik and produced by Nosheen Malik.
Jhansi Ki Rani (1953)
Credited as the first Technicolor film made in India 1953, Jhansi Ki Rani the historical drama produced and directed by the master filmmaker Sohrab Modi. The movie starred Mehtab (Sohrab Modi’s wife) in the title role along with Sohrab Modi in the role of her mentor, Rajguru.
Jhansi Ki Rani was dubbed in English as The Tiger and the Flame, which released in 1956 with the same star cast. Apart from Mehtab and Sohrab Modi, the movie also featured Mubarak, Ulhas, Sapru, Ram Singh, Baby Shikha, Marconi and Shakila.
Set in the 19th century against the backdrop of the Mutiny of 1857, the film is about the bravery of queen Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi, who took up arms and led her army against the British.
One of the most powerful movie of its times, Junoon produced by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Shyam Benegal is based on Ruskin Bond's fictional novella, A Flight of Pigeons.
Set around the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the movie starred Shashi Kapoor, his wife Jennifer Kendal, Nafisa Ali, Tom Alter, Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Pearl Padamsee and Sushma Seth.
Junoon’s soundtrack was composed by Vanraj Bhatia (who expired recently) and Govind Nihalani was the cinematographer.
Junoon also featured Shashi and Jennifer's children Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor.
Junoon won top honours at the 1979 National Film Awards as the Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography – Govind Nihalani, Best Audiography – Hitendra Ghosh. Junoon also won accolades for Shashi Kapoor again as producer for best picture while Shyam Benegal walked away with the honors of best director in the year 1980.
Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)
The comeback of Aamir Khan who took a break after Dil Chahta Hai (2001). This historical biographical drama film based on the life of Mangal Pandey, is directed by Ketan Mehta, produced by Bobby Bedi and with a screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy. Internationally known as The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey, Aamir Khan plays Mangal Pandey – the Indian soldier known for helping to spark the Indian rebellion of 1857 - also known as The First War of Indian Independence.
Mangal Pandey: The Rising premiered in the Marché du Film section of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
Narrated by Om Puri, Mangal Pandey: The Rising also starred Rani Mukerji, Ameesha Patel, Toby Stephens and Kirron Kher.
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
The 2019 Indian Hindi-language period drama film starring the Bollywood controversial queen Kangana Ranaut as Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi fetched her the best actress award at the 67th National Awards.
Directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut. Screenplay is written by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and the movie is produced by Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, and Nishant Pitti.
A special screening of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi was organised by Zee Entertainment for Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre on 18 January in presence of Kangana Ranaut and her team before release of the film on 25 January 2019.
After watching the film. the President felicitated the cast and crew of the film.
The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (2019)
The English language British period drama film on the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the British East India Company is produced, directed and co-written by Swati Bhise. Originally titled Swords and Sceptres: The Rani of Jhansi. Devika Bhise, who also co-wrote the script, plays the lead role of Rani Lakshmibai.